A Different Take on the Traveller's Curse

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Beoric
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A Different Take on the Traveller's Curse

Post by Beoric » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:35 am

I was reading a blog lately and came across this passage:
Imagine, then, a world in which after you spent a few days in a place you actually slipped into a different plane - imagine that psychic geography was actually real. Imagine if moving from village to village, town to town, city to city and so on meant moving between psychic filters which changed the way reality is perceived and hence the stuff of reality itself. In village A, the nearby forest is haunted, and the nearby city is 100 miles away because the people in the village almost never go there. But in village B, on the other side of the forest, the nearby city is only 10 miles away because the people trade with it quite a bit. And in village C, which is inside the forest, the forest is completely benign but the outside world of open fields and skies is full of foreboding.
The whole post can be found here: http://monstersandmanuals.blogspot.ca/2 ... raphy.html. It discusses the different perspectives that people who live in one community can have from people from another community regarding the same geography. I remember this growing up as a country kid with a lot of city friends; they always seemed to think that driving 45 minutes to downtown was a short trip, but driving 30 minutes to our acreage was hell-and-gone. The post goes on to consider what would happen if this was literally true in a fantasy world.

I thought it would be an interesting approach to the Traveller's Curse if distances actually changed because of the perspectives of the locals - and travellers got caught up in the locals' psychic geography. This is particularly interesting since locals seem to be affected less by the Curse.

Imagine that for locals from a village who feel like Stormreach isn't that far away, it consistently isn't; whereas for foreigners travelling near a number of villages and tribes, they get caught up in all the different perspectives, and the distances become inconsistent.

Or imagine a drow tribe, xenophobic and afraid that the Khorvairan culture is closing in on them, that Stormreach is far too close, and therefore raid the trade routes near the city constantly; since the city feels close, it is close, and they can hit it often. But the Stormreachers feel like pretty much anywhere outside of the city is far away, and have trouble retaliating or policing the roads because to them, the drow territory is so far away.

Imagine that this was psychic residue from the separation of Dal Quor and Eberron. Perhaps it is the backlash from the snapping of the virtual cord that bound them together, a residual dream-energy that links the physical geography to people's unconscious perception of it. Or perhaps it results from the constant remoteness of Dal Quor, which is heightened in Xen'drik; dreams being more distant and less fulfilling of their psychic duties, people unconsciously construct their own dream landscape in the place in which they live. In either event, the only way to end the Traveller's Curse is to mend the rift between Dal Quor and Eberron.

Thoughts?

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Re: A Different Take on the Traveller's Curse

Post by enderxenocide0 » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:52 pm

This is super cool and I think I have to steal this for my campaign.

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Re: A Different Take on the Traveller's Curse

Post by Big Mac » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:43 am

I had never heard of the Traveller's Curse before. I had to look up the Traveller's Curse article on Eberon Wiki to see what it was about:
Eberron Wiki wrote:The Traveler's Curse alters Xen'drik temporally and spacially. The effect is that adventurers will find that maps sometimes fail them. On the positive side, sometimes the curse will cause a person to arrive where they need to be earlier than they anticipated. Or even better, the curse can cause a treasure seeker to find an unexplored ruin filled with treasure. No one knows what causes the curse. Interesting, it has less effect on natives to Xen'drik, like drow and giants. And strangely, the Traveler's Curse has no effect on thri-kreen.
There are no citations there, so it's impossible to know how accurate that article is to Eberron canon but it suggests that this effect only operates in Xen'drik.

I guess that Noisms Psychic Geography would be a good way to explain maps failing to work. If the drow and giants have distorted views of parts of Xen'drik and can actually change the geography around any PCs who have any sort of interaction with them, the very process of stopping off at an inn and spending a night could shunt the PCs around.

There might even be a few places that are impossible to find without going to a particular place and then asking the PCs for directions to a second hard-to-reach place. The NPCs who have some sort of interaction with each other, could act as a navigation system that allows people to bypass the Curse. :)
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Re: A Different Take on the Traveller's Curse

Post by Big Mac » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:59 am

Beoric wrote:<snip>

Or imagine a drow tribe, xenophobic and afraid that the Khorvairan culture is closing in on them, that Stormreach is far too close, and therefore raid the trade routes near the city constantly; since the city feels close, it is close, and they can hit it often. But the Stormreachers feel like pretty much anywhere outside of the city is far away, and have trouble retaliating or policing the roads because to them, the drow territory is so far away.

<snip>

Thoughts?
If you want to include this effect in game, I would suggest that PCs spending time in a culture would need to make some sort of saving throw against the Traveller's Curse.

If they make the saving throw, distances should work normally, but if they fail it, then distances should be multiplied/divided by a certain amount. But I'm not sure how much "too close" and "too far" would translate into a multiplier.

I think that succumbing to the Traveller's Curse should only have an effect within a certain range, as the locals can't know every village in Xen'Drik, so if the PCs travel a certain distance without visiting any other villiages, the effect should eventually wear off.

Staying in inns, eating food and drink and socialising with locals should probably raise the DC of avoiding the Traveller's Curse for each village.

If you really wanted to get involved with this, you could make a close up map of an area with numbers that show the distance each way written next to the roads. You could even have some small trails that are impossible to find from one direction.
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Re: A Different Take on the Traveller's Curse

Post by Beoric » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:09 am

Big Mac wrote:There might even be a few places that are impossible to find without going to a particular place and then asking the PCs for directions to a second hard-to-reach place. The NPCs who have some sort of interaction with each other, could act as a navigation system that allows people to bypass the Curse. :)
Sure, although if you run into people who don't believe a place exists, or think it is on the other side of the world, you might have serious difficulty.

I had forgotten that Thri-kreen are unaffected by the Curse. It is worth noting that in 3.5 Thri-kreen don't sleep, and would therefore be unaffected by effects relating to Dal Quor.

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